Budgeting

3 Financial New Year’s Resolutions Singaporeans Should Make For 2017

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Joanne Poh

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Whether you pledged to save a certain amount of cash, raise your income, pay off your credit card debt or stop being a shopaholic, we hope you stuck with your 2016 new year’s resolutions for more than three seconds.

Unfortunately, 2016 was a rough year for many, and 2017 isn’t going to be much easier given the state of the economy and the tough job market.

So here are three new year’s resolutions you might want to consider making for the coming year. They’ll help you financially, and we promise they’re way easier to fulfil than that resolution to tease out a six-pack you made last year.

 

Do one thing to upgrade yourself in your career

For employees in many industries, the years of plenty are over. For instance, employees in the financial and oil and gas industries now have to fight off heart attacks each time they overhear the word “retrenchment”.

Make it your resolution to upgrade yourself and boost your employability this year. If you haven’t used those SkillsFuture credits the government gave you, make a pledge to do so. You can also get your boss to send you “on course” or ask your employer to sponsor you for a relevant training programme.

You might also want to consider upgrading yourself on your own dime, or asking for new responsibilities at work that can broaden your skillset. You may not be thinking of making an immediate job switch, but at least help yourself advance on the long-term trajectory you envision for yourself.

 

Review all your recurring financial commitments

There’s never been a better year than 2017 to scale back your spending, since salaries are set to grow more slowly and jobs will be harder to come by.

The first and most pain-free thing you should do in order to reduce your spending is to take stock of all your recurring financial commitments. This includes things like your mobile data plan, your cable TV subscription and your gym membership.

Switch to a cheaper provider, downgrade or cancel those subscriptions you’re not fully utilising or don’t need and your monthly spending instantly shrinks, no further effort needed.

 

Rebalance your investment portfolio

Remember when you first came up with a plan for your investment portfolio? You might have decided you’d put 70% of your portfolio in stocks, and then 30% in lower risk investments like bonds.

Take a look at your investments now, and you might be surprised to find that the percentages have changed. It’s likely your riskier investments like stocks have now grown as a percentage of your total portfolio.

Your portfolio could now look something like this: 90% stocks and 10% bonds. This is something to be happy about by the way—if it were the other way around that would mean your stock investments had bombed. On the other hand, it also means that you’re now taking on a greater degree of risk than you might be comfortable with.

Rebalancing your portfolio means reallocating your resources so you’re exposing yourself to risk that’s appropriate to your financial situation and risk appetite.

If your financial situation has changed since you made your plan, such as if you’re planning to retire in the next five years or your income has changed significantly, you will want to adjust your plan accordingly. For instance, those who want to retire soon will want to lower their risk exposure.

Ideally, your investment portfolio should be monitored and adjusted regularly. If you haven’t done so in a while, make it your New Year’s resolution to do so before the economy goes further south.

What are your New Year’s resolutions for the year? Tell us in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.